At the helm of Americans for Tax Reform is anti-tax activist, Grover Norquist. He’s no stranger to controversy, but liberals are taking their foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of Norquist to new levels following their election victories. Norquist’s arguably most famous political maneuver is asking that Republican politicians sign the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge, which reads:
“I [insert politician’s name] pledge to the taxpayers of the [insert congressional district number] district of the state of [insert state he or she represents], and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
What a radical concept – keeping taxation low – particularly during a time of economic upheaval. (sarcasm) Yet, for as innocent as that pledge is, liberals have targeted it for destruction in the fiscal cliff negotiations. Below is just a sampling of the absurdities coming from the left (now repeated by average Americans) about the ATR pledge:
- “Unfortunately, 95% of the Republicans in office have signed a pledge to a lobbyist named Grover not to compromise when it comes to raising taxes.” – Daily Kos
- Article title: “How Grover Norquist’s Radical Anti-Tax Pledge Sunk Top Tier Republican Senate Candidates” – ThinkProgress
- “Call Norquist’s pledge what it is: it’s a pledge to cut Medicare. A pledge to cut Social Security, Medicaid for seniors and the disabled, college loans, food stamps… And, it’s a pledge to raise taxes on your kids. Most of all, Norquist’s pledge is a promise to transfer wealth to the richest.” – ElectaBlog
Let’s address the inaccuracies first. The pledge is not signed to Grover Norquist. If Daily Kos has read the pledge instead of simply jumping on the liberal talking points bandwagon, its writers would note that the pledge is a pledge to an elected official’s constituents.
The pledge also is not radical. Keeping government spending low is prudent. At some point, there will be more people in the cart than those who are pulling the cart. We’re quickly approaching this threshold. This chart from USGovernmentSpending.com shows that spending as a percentage of GDP during the last 50 years or so has gradually ticked up. In the early 1900s, the United States government spending was less than 10% of its GDP. Currently, government spending is over 40%.
Finally, in a moment of dramatic fatalism, Electablog declared the pledge a pledge to raise taxes on kids and a wealth transfer to the richest Americans. That’s actually what the pledge is supposed to prevent. The growth of government is not only problematic because of the direct cost to taxpayers, but also because of the additional regulations and rules that the growth in government represents to individuals and businesses.
Compromise is important in political negotiations, but this isn’t about compromise. This is about political gamesmanship and greed on the part of Democrats. Agree or disagree with the ATR pledge, Norquist accurately assessed the political environment when he told Salon.com earlier this month, “even more than getting more revenues, (Democrats) want Republican fingerprints on tax increases so they can smash Republicans in the next series of elections.”